Brother Todd,It's a very interesting work as it presents a narrative where one will invariably identify with one of the four archetypical personae as the story follows out the course of events leading to different tho inevitable conclusions of each character. Not sure if it's his best work but it is without question a masterful piece of literature. The more I read about Dostoyevsky's life, the more it became clear that it was faith in God that sustained him and his works are seasoned with this faith. It reminded me of Watchman Nee a bit tho they have completely different characters and styles of writing there is much to be gleaned from these brothers. Like Nee, there are things the Christian existentialists write that I can relate/agree with and some that perhaps is beyond me, like with Kierkegaard's Works of love...that is such a thick and meaty writing that I simply lack the ability to digest it all at once much like the scriptures are. One of the most beautiful and useful things I've gotten from narrative literature is that the Bible itself is written as a narrative... and tho we often dissect it for the purpose of refinement (doctrines & theology), when read as a literary narrative so much more of the person of Jesus is revealed and it (the scriptures) reveal yet another even richer revelation of our Lord and savior, the man Jesus Christ. I'm greatful for this and long for dialogue in this vein tho in a modern age of "being right" and "interpretation" this is a lost art of simply knowing Him.
Fletcher-Our church just did a 9 month series using "The Story" which is the Bible written in narrative form. The emphasis was on recognizing what was going on in the "upper story" (God's perspective) in relation to the "lower story" (what we experience). It was quite good- you might want to check it out. I know you can get it as a phone app.
Take for instance the existence precedes essence aspect.... did Adam exist in essence prior to his physical creation?We know that Jesus existed prior to His incarnation but is that true for us also like David suggests in the psalms?
Brother Ron wrote "I assume that you're thinking of Psalm 139:15-16. Jeremiah 1:4-5 might also be one to consider in the possibility of man's existence prior to being physically born. But neither of these passages are definitive statements of such and they actually point much more to God's omniscience. Nothing in the Bible explicitly states this notion of existence preceding essence in mankind."Yes you're correct in assuming those passages being a point of reference and like you I see that they appear hyperbolic in relating to us but bespeak of Gods knowing the end from the beginning. Tho on the second point you make I think we have a different understanding of the terms used... if we as essence (soul/spirit) exist prior to our physical existence then the existential postulate is incorrect,... tho if we take the creation of Adam literally, that his physical person was created prior to his having an essence (soul/spirit) then the basic tenet of existentialism is technically correct...